20 December 2009

Raw Milk, the Key to Swine Flu Immunity?

Here are two articles that report on a 'new' finding about how our immune systems protect us from viruses. What is new is the accidenal discovery of a protein, IFITM3, that seems to be the key to immunity against the swine flu and other influenza viruses. This helps us to understand why alpha-interferon protects and even cures viral illnesses like HIV. Remember Kemron that was discovered in Kenya to cure AIDS? That's alpha-interferon, and IFITM3 is the protein that is induced by alpha and beta interferon and make it work. Remember too, that both alpha and beta interferon are present in raw milk, so drink up and stay healthy!
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Natural swine flu defence found
A previously unknown natural defence against swine flu and other viruses has been discovered which could lead to new treatments.

By
Rebecca Smith,

18 Dec 2009
Scientists found that the virus-fighting proteins protected against swine flu when levels were increased.
When the proteins were removed the swine flu virus was able to multiply in the body unchecked.

The accidental discovery may help to explain why some people develop serious symptoms when they contract flu and others do not.
The protein, IFITM3, and although it appeared to be connected to the functioning of the immune system, how it worked and what it did had never been understood.
Professor Stephen Elledge, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, US, who led the research, said: "We've uncovered the first-line defence in how our bodies fight the flu virus.
"The protein is there to stop the flu. Every cell has a constitutive immune response that is ready for the virus. If we get rid of that, the virus has a heyday."
The findings, reported in the journal Cell, could pave the way to new kinds of antiviral treatment, say the scientists. However, it remains to be seen what the long-term side effects of boosting levels of the proteins might be.
The news comes as Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, announced the latest swine flu figures showing a further drop in cases with an estimated 9,000 new diagnoses last week.
It is thought over 800,000 people have suffered symptoms of swine flu since it first emerged in England in April.
It appears that the second wave of the disease is coming to an end but he warned that it is not know what will happen in the New Year.
Sir Liam said the NHS had coped 'brilliantly' with swine flu this year.
The vaccination programme is also progressing with three million people out of the nine million in the first priority groups already immunised.
More than 100,000 pregnant women have so far been vaccinated, Prof David Salisbury, head of immunisation said, out of around 550,000 women who are pregnant at any one time in England.
Two thirds of local NHS organisations have now reached agreements with GPs to start vaccinating children aged between six months and five years.


INTERFERON-INDUCED TRANSMEMBRANE PROTEIN 3; IFITM3
Gene map locus Chr.11
TEXT
The 1-8 gene family, which includes IFITM1 (
604456), IFITM2 (605578), and IFITM3, is highly inducible by both type I (IFNA (147660)/IFNB (147640)) and type II (IFNG; 147570) interferons.
By screening a lymphoid cell cosmid library with a probe corresponding to the 3-prime untranslated region of IFITM1,
Lewin et al. (1991) isolated a cosmid containing the IFITM1, IFITM2, and IFITM3 genes, which they termed 9-27, 1-8D, and 1-8U, respectively, within a single 18-kb fragment. Northern blot analysis of cells expressing the IFITM genes showed that IFITM2 is not as responsive to IFNA treatment as IFITM3 or IFITM1. Genomic sequence analysis determined that all 3 IFITMs contain 2 exons, with the interferon-stimulable response elements (ISREs) in the immediately 5-prime flanking sequence of the promoter/enhancer region. Unlike IFITM1, which has an ISRE and 2 CCAAT boxes but lacks a TATA box, IFITM2 and IFITM3 have 2 ISREs and no TATA or CCAAT boxes. Sequence analysis predicted that the 133-amino acid IFITM3 protein, which is approximately 90% identical to IFITM2, has an N-terminal signal sequence, 3 potential phosphorylation sites, and a C-terminal leucine zipper. Sequence variability is greatest at the C terminus. Immunoblot analysis showed that in response to IFNA, all 3 IFITMs were expressed as 14-kD proteins that could be further resolved by isoelectric focusing.
The International Radiation Hybrid Mapping Consortium mapped the IFITM3 gene to chromosome 11 (stSG13140

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